This is the glue trap, a board or piece of cardboard covered in very sticky adhesive.
People usually buy glue traps to catch mice, and they often do this. A mouse, attracted by the scent of food in the centre and unaware of the danger, steps onto it and becomes stuck. The terrified animal then begins to struggle, sometimes pulling off chunks of hair and flesh or breaking legs. Some have chewed off their own limbs in an effort to escape. If the head becomes stuck the animal may suffocate. Most animals caught in them die from a combination of exhaustion, dehydration and starvation.
Not only rodents end up in these traps. Wildlife and pets have also been their victims. In April, two tawny owls were rescued after becoming stuck in glue traps in England. The RSPCA is writing to any shops known to sell these traps, and asking them to stop.
Both wildlife and pets have often become stuck in the traps. Even those that survive go through a terrifying, and painful, experience.
A business in Georgia put out glue traps to catch rats and mice, but what they caught were four young kittens. Luckily, an employee heard the kittens and got them to a rescue centre, although their feral mother took off. (There are now plans to capture her and have her spayed.) If the business had been closed the kittens could have been dead before they were discovered.
Bottom of Form
If you find an animal caught in a glue trap dribble cooking oil (baby oil can be used if no cooking oil is available, but don’t use synthetic lubricants) around it and massage it into the fur, feathers or skin. Once the animal is loose take it to a vet if possible, or keep it warm and dry until it’s well enough to be released. Oil can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Lynn Curwin is a journalist and animal lover. She lives in Bible Hill.